Pennsylvania Wants to Let 15-Year-Olds Drive to Work

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

I remember my first job and spending my early driving days slowly putzing there with a parent in the front of our 1971 Cutlass. It was frustrating to be almost 16, have a learner’s permit, and still have to drive grandma speed, especially with a Rocket 350 under the hood, but it probably saved me (and local law enforcement) a lot of hassle and trouble. Pennsylvania lawmakers want to change the licensing age to let more teens drive themselves to work.

News WTAE4 reported that a new bill would lower the driving age to 15 and set the learner’s permit at the same age. It’s a bipartisan bill, and the sponsors use PA’s neighbor, West Virginia, as an example. The state lets drivers get their permit at 15, while Ohio’s limit is 15 and a half and Maryland's is 15 and nine months.

My home state of Tennessee didn’t have a graduated license program when I was growing up, but it has implemented one since. Pennsylvania’s current law sets the learner’s permit age at 16 and requires training before young drivers can carry passengers and drive late at night. PA’s legislature is unlikely to open the door for teens to drive to any job at any time of the day, but where those lines fall will be interesting to watch. 

[Image: F11 Photo via Shutterstock]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by  subscribing to our newsletter.

Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

More by Chris Teague

Join the conversation
4 of 35 comments
  • VoGhost VoGhost on Feb 27, 2023

    Capitalism will not rest until all are enslaved by work, the sooner the better.

  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Feb 27, 2023

    Well, that's a dated photo of our fair city. Where's the 60 story Comcast Technology Center, that's been around since 2018 or so? Tallest US building outside of Manhatten or Chicago, I believe.

    And no, I don't think 15 year olds should be driving around Philly. Gad, I was a terror at 16, just lucky I didn't do any damage to anyone or anything.

  • Slavuta Slavuta on Feb 28, 2023

    I drove a professional truck at 15 yo. with instructor. I was still 16 when received my professional class driver license (excluding buses and semis), which I could use when 18. Motorcycle license was obtainable at 16. I passed my car-class test at age of 20.

  • Steve S. Steve S. on Jul 18, 2023

    I grew up in Pittsburgh and got my drivers' license at 16 in 1985, and I drove to my first job at a Giant Eagle supermarket in the suburbs that year. What people don't realize is that Pennsylvania basically has two cities and the rest of it is suburban and rural. There's not much difference between a 15 year old and a 16 year old so I don't see the problem with some of them driving, so long as they have some training, preferably Driver's Ed in high school. But then I come from the last generation that was allowed to play outside unsupervised.